TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. — Stacey Stahl doesn’t consider herself an artist, or even very creative for that matter. This self image is precisely why she opened The Painted Vine — a place to paint, sip wine and connect with others.
A clinical social worker by day, Stacey opened the Donner Pass Road business in late April after she experienced drinking wine while painting on canvas in other locales. Through loose instruction and a glass of wine, Stacey said she discovered a side of herself willing and excited to create.
“We’re not necessarily designed for people who consider themselves artists, we’re designed for those who don’t believe they have a creative side, don’t believe they have artistic ability, we’re here to show them that they do,” she said.
Customers can paint alone, in a couple or with a large group. The whole space or a small group room is available to rent for private parties. The guided lesson on a chosen theme helps novice artists work toward creating a “masterpiece.”
“It’s more about creating something you can be proud of than creating fine art,” Stacy said. “It builds confidence, self esteem and camaraderie, all of those things that tend to make us happier people.”
Over the course of 10 weeks, Stacey’s husband and co owner of The Painted Vine Brandon Stahl rebuilt and remodeled the space. Feeling confident after remodeling his condominium, Brandon took on the project, which is his wife’s vision. In addition to painting walls and hanging funky mirrors, Brandon put a wood mantel above the fireplace and installed a madrone wood countertop for the bar area. Brandon calls the bar his “pride and joy,” — a focal part of The Painted Vine.
“I knew I wanted to build a really nice bar,” Brandon said. “Though it’s not really a bar but more of a countertop to paint on.”
The bar’s underside is an artistic mix of sheet metal, brick, granite and tile. The Painted Vine’s decor is a mountain cabin feel with space to offer activities.
“We wanted to have not just another place in town but offer the quality service and atmosphere that Truckee locals deserve,” she said.
GOOD FOR THE SOUL
Melissa Castillo works as an art therapist and has joined Stacey as an art instructor. She said the light environment of the wine/art bar is a welcome change from her full-time job.
“It seemed like the perfect career accessory,” Melissa said. “It’s more fun and it’s not as intense as the environment I’m used to.”
Instructors at The Painted Vine hope guests discover hidden talents and a desire to continue creative hobbies as they explore a wide range of colored acrylic paint on white canvas.
“The feeling of inspiration is one of my favorite emotions,” Melissa said. “Being in the moment and being excited about what you see is fulfilling.”
Date Night, a special evening for couples to paint together, is a new concept.
“Convincing guys to sit down and grab a paint brush is the hardest part,” Brandon said with a laugh. “But once they start putting paint on the canvas it’s fun.”
When Cathy Rudolph took her husband to the soft opening he was hesitant.
“My husband said, ‘I’m not painting,’ and I said, ‘Oh yes you are,’” Cathy recalled. With a craft beer in one hand and a paintbrush in the other, Cathy’s husband put color onto the white canvas and created a sunflower. Cathy enjoyed a glass of wine and liked spending time with her husband doing an activity that “wasn’t just watching the game.”
“We got to talk about things that were completely different,” Cathy said. “I would do it again in a second.”
PAINT IT FORWARD
The Painted Vine also hosts fundraising events as part of their “Paint it Forward” program. Recently, proceeds from the program went toward North Tahoe Family Resource Center and Tahoe SAFE Alliance. Over 60 percent of the proceeds on Paint it Forward events go to the charity selected.
The Painted Vine is open Friday and Saturday nights as well as Sunday afternoons. Saturday morning is Family Day and no alcohol is served. Stacey and Brandon Stahl also offer memberships for discounted prices and specials. Check the website at painted-vine.com for promotions and discount for preregistration.
Jenny Luna is a freelance reporter for the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza and Sierra Sun newspapers. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“It’s more about creating something you can be proud of than creating fine art.”